Mama Kat provides today's inspiration: It happened at daycare.
When I was in my 20s, I went to community college. Shannon was in Kindergarten when I started; Erin had to make her first foray into the world of daycare at 2 1/2 years of age.
This story took place when Erin was between three and four years of age:
As a student/mother of young kids, my schedule was crazy. With a kid in half-day Kindergarten, it was even crazier. I'd be at class, and have to dash to Shannon's school to pick her up, then drive her to daycare, where she'd spend the rest of the day with her sister, Erin.
The schedule got a bit easier once Shannon entered first grade. I'd leave class and drive to daycare and get Erin. Then we'd make the drive to the elementary school and wait in the carpool line for dismissal time to retrieve Shannon.
One day, I was in a particular hurry. When I got out of my two-toned (red and white, no less) Chevrolet station wagon at daycare, I noticed that I had a tire that very close to being flat.
If I hurried, I could stop at the service station, get air, then drive to pick up Shannon from first grade.
Think back, if you're old enough, to the early 80s. There were very few convenience stores then, and not many of them had gas pumps and the availability of air hoses. Most of those activities took place at SERVICE stations, where nice employees pumped your gas, cleaned your windshield, and put air in your tires.
They had the audacity of having regular business hours - you did NOT fill up after 5pm.
Anyway, I needed to get to the gas station in a hurry so I could still make it to school to pick up Shannon at dismissal time.
I walked into daycare and saw Erin happily playing with her friends. "Come on, Erin, let's get your coat and your backpack, I have to put air in the tire before we get Shannon."
Erin stopped in her tracks, her face squinched up, and the tears started to fall.
"Erin, what's wrong? Let's go, we have to put air in the tire!" The sobbing began. Despite her tears, she let me put her coat on her. I was impatient, I had a schedule to keep. I took her by the hand and we went outside to the parking lot.
Standing at the passenger door of the car, she said, in a very sad voice, "Are you really going to put ME in the tire?"
"Oh no, honey, I'd never do that! I need to put AIR IN THE TIRE, not Erin IN the tire!" I hugged her and wiped her tears and buckled her into the back seat (this was also the time before mandatory child safety seats), and chuckled all the way to the service station.
For the past 30 years, I take every opportunity I can to tell Erin's friends to call her "Erin The Tire".
But over the years, I've also have thought a lot about the fact that Erin came with me (sure, it was only semi-willingly, but she came along) even though she thought I was going to cram her into the tire. If that's not love, what is?
*No preschoolers were harmed in the re-telling of this story.